Understanding CT scans -Purpose, Procedure, and Risk
What are CT Scans?
CT Scans stands for Computerised tomography scans. It uses computers and rotating X-ray machines to produce cross-sectional images of a body. These images provide much more detail and far greater information than any normal X-ray images could. CT scans are so precise that they can even show the soft tissues, blood vessels, and bones in various parts of your body. A CT scan can be done to examine the head, spine, shoulders, abdomen, knees, chest, and heart.
You may have seen a CT scan in a movie or in a video, where you are made to lie in a tunnel-like machine and taken inside, once inside, the machine rotates and captures a set of X-rays from various angles. These captured images are then communicated to a computer, where they’re combined to give images of slices, or cross-sections, of the body. These images can also be combined to create a 3-D image of a certain area of the body.
Why are CT scans Performed?
A CT scan comes with many uses, but it is best suited for diagnosing diseases and evaluating injuries. The imaging technique can help a doctor:
- * identify infections, diagnose muscle disorders, and bone fractures
- * pinpoint the exact location of masses and tumours (including cancerous ones)
- * better study the blood vessels and other internal structures
- * assess the severity of internal injuries and amount of internal bleeding
- * It helps to perform surgeries and biopsies
- * monitor the treatments for certain medical conditions, including cancer and heart disease
CT scan is not painful. The test is minimally invasive and can be conducted quickly, on average a CT scan won’t take more than 4-5 minutes.
Are CT and MRI scan same?
- MRI scan uses high magnetic and radio waves to produce an image while a computed tomography scan or CT scan uses X-rays to create a series of pictures taken from different sides of the body.
How Is a CT scan Performed?
A doctor might have you take a special dye called a “contrast dye” which has material that enables the body’s internal structures to show up clearer on the X-ray images. Depending on the part of your body that’s getting scanned, you may have to drink a liquid which contains the contrast and it can even be injected into the arm or administered through your rectum via an enema; if required. If you are advised to go for a contrast CT scan, you will require four to six hours of fasting before CT scan.
When it comes time to have the CT scan, you’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown and will remove any metal objects on you. Metal objects can interfere with the CT scan results. Usually item like glasses, jewellery, and dentures will need to be removed. Your will be asked to lie face up on a table that slides into the CT scanner. The team will then leave the exam room and proceed into the control room from where they’ll be able to see and hear you and you can easily communicate with them via an intercom placed nearby.
Then the table will slowly move you into the scanner, while the X-ray machine will rotate around you. Each rotation will produce a tranche of images of thin slices of your body so don’t worry if you hear clicking, buzzing, or whirring noises inside the scanning machine. The table moves about a few millimetres at a time all the way till the exam is done and this whole procedure could take anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour.
Remember that It’s very important you lie still while the CT images are being taken as movement can produce blurry pictures. Your doctor could also ask you to hold your breath for a small amount of time during the test which will prevent your chest from moving up and down. If there is a need to do a CT scan for young children, the doctor might recommend a sedative to keep the child from moving around.
Once you’re done with the CT scan, the images will be sent to a radiologist for examination, radiologists are doctors who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions with the use of imaging techniques, such as X-rays scans and CT scans. After this, your doctor will follow-up with you to discuss the results.
What are CT Scan risks/side effects? Is CT scan Harmful?
There are really very few risks that you’ll face when it comes to a CT scan. Even though CT scans do expose you to a higher amount of radiation than typical X-rays, the risk of getting cancer caused by radiation is very slim if you get only one scan. The risk for cancer can increase over a period of time if you’re having multiple X-rays or CT scans. Also, the risk of cancer is comparatively more in children who are receiving CT scans, especially in the chest and abdomen areas.
Some people can also have an allergic reaction to the contrast material used in the dye as almost all contrast material contain iodine, so if you have had adverse reactions to iodine in the past, make sure to tell your doctor. Your doctor can give you an anti- allergic or steroids to deal with the potential side effects of your iodine allergy, while you’ll still be able to take the contrast.
While the radiation from a CT scan is unlikely to harm your baby, it is important you tell your doctor if you are pregnant as the doctor can then recommend another exam, like an ultrasound or MRI scan, to reduce risk.
Patients visit Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka to get the CT test done. We are one of the best CT scan centres/hospitals in Dwarka, Delhi. We use the most recent innovations to help people recover from their illnesses. The radiology department provides an array of advanced imaging services which includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography scanning (CT), ultrasound, and digital mammography at affordable price in Delhi that help the doctors precisely analyze each illness region, assuring early recognition and treatment. We perform both CT plain and contrast test as advised by the doctors at affordable price/cost. We are aware that it is difficult for a common people to pay for a life saving diagnostic scans so we come with various schemes time to time to reduce the cost/charge/price of CT scans in Delhi. Our offerings are CT scan abdomen/stomach, HRCT chest, CT scan brain/head, CT scan lungs, CT scan spine, CT scan knee, CT scan shoulder and CT scan heart among several others
Dr. Meinal Chaudhry
Director, Dep. of Radiodiagnosis
And Intervention Radiology